Our Suggested Excuse For Tom Benson

Posted in Gridiron at 8:17 am by

The Saints owner can explain that he was going as Kenny Rogers this Halloween, and just wanted to get into character.

(video footage here, WMV required)

Yanks To Hire Noted Fornicator?

Posted in Baseball at 8:04 am by

With Luis Sojo displaced after the hiring of Larry Bowa, the Yankees might be adding former Royals manager Tony Pena to Joe Torre’s staff, writes the NY Daily News’ Sam Borden.

There are several advantages to bringing in Pena, who won the 2003 AL Manager of the Year award in Kansas City but stepped down in May after a difficult start. First, the Bombers are looking for a Latino presence on the staff since former third base coach Luis Sojo is not expected to be with the major league club in 2006. Sojo, who will be replaced by former Phillies manager Larry Bowa, has expressed interest in becoming the manager of the Class-A Tampa Yankees because that is where he lives, and he likely will be accommodated.

Sojo was very popular with the Spanish-speaking players on the Yankees and had a particularly good relationship with Robinson Cano. Joe Torre often used Sojo to help gauge the rookie’s emotional status, so there is the hope that Pena might develop a similar chemistry.

The second benefit to adding Pena is that the Bombers currently are without a specialized catchers coach. Bench coach Joe Girardi worked with Jorge Posada, John Flaherty and the other catchers during spring training and continued that responsibility during the season, but he has left to become the manager of the Marlins.

Another benefit, unmentioned by Borden, is that with Sojo having already refused a demotion to coach at 1st, Pena is a natural for the position. If reports out of K.C. are to be believed, who would know more about how to get to first base?

Mushnick Can No Longer Live A Lie…

Posted in Sports Journalism at 7:38 am by

….and what took him so long? From Phil Mushnick in Monday’s NY Post.

We’re supposed to applaud Sheryl Swoopes’ courage in revealing that she’s gay when her self-outing coincided with her paid endorsement of a cruise line that caters to lesbians? Until dough was dangled, her seven-year relationship with a woman was no one else’s business? How’s that for the courage of one’s convictions?

Heck, if there’s money in it, I’ll admit it, too. I’m a lesbian. Bon voyage!

Though Phil is correct in implying there’s something screwy about such an announcement having a corporate sponsor (in this case, Olivia Cruises), surely Mr. Integrity can acknowledge that Swoopes is waving goodbye to any number of other endorsement opportunities?

And besides, Fred Smoot already turned the gig down.

Al Lopez, RIP

Posted in Baseball at 2:51 am by

Hall Of Famer Al Lopez passed away this weekend at the age of 97. Lopez wore the tools of ignorance in some 1918 games, a record that stood for more than 40 years.

As a manager, Lopez led the ’54 Indians and ’59 White Sox to American League pennants. The former club won 111 games in the regular season before losing to Willie Mays’ New York Giants in the World Series.

Bills Add Minor Chapter To Their Legacy Of Failure

Posted in Gridiron at 1:35 am by

You don’t have to be Vincent Gallo or Leah Archibald to know that Buffalo’s 21-16 loss to the Patriots on Sunday barely registers on the Bills’ list of All-Time Chokes. Just the same, Bills fans can take the following away from the experience :

a) you had a banged-up, beatable New England squad on the ropes, and couldn’t get the job done.
b) On 4th and 7 with 2:03 left and trailing by 5, maybe Kelly Holcomb has to thrown the ball further down the field?


Coach-Slash-Educator Of Young Men Loses It

Posted in Gridiron at 12:30 am by

Now that a not-so-good Oklahoma team has beaten Nebraska in Lincoln for the first time in 18 years, what better time to decide if the overstressed Bill Callahan was making a throat-slash gesture or merely scratching his own neck? (link courtesy View From A Zoo).


McNabb’s Awesome Sunday

Posted in Hockey at 9:36 pm by

The above headline does not refer to the Eagles’ Donovan, who came out on the short end of a 49-21 decision to the Broncos Sunday afternoon. Instead, I pay homage to the Austin Ice Bats’ veteran F John McNabb (above), whose 2 goals —- one on a nifty breakaway, another on a 3rd period powerplay — helped the local CHL side get off the schneid with a come from behind 5-4 win over Lubbock, their first of the season.

Trailing 4-1 entering the 3rd, 4 unanswered goals in an 18 minute span improved the Ice Bats’ record to 1-4, this after being outscored 12-4 in the weekend’s previous losses to Bossier-Shreveport and Rio Grande.

If I’m ever again tempted to refer to the likes of Shea Stadium or Brentford’s Griffin Park as “charmless”, I need only compare either venue to the sparsely populated Travis County Exhibition Center (which in all fairness, has to be a far more happening joint for non-matinees and/or motocross. I’m not actually sure about the motocross, but Lt. Dangle isn’t returning my calls). However, Ice Bats management are doing their very best to improve the ambience and if the heavy rotation of Local H and Sponge wasn’t enough to keep hockey neophytes entertained, they could also enjoy the smooth between-periods stylings of the Concordia University Jazz Ensemble. John Coltrane, Albert Ayler, Cecil Taylor, Art Ensemble Of Chicago, Thelonious Monk, Ornette Coleman, Don Cherry, Pharoah Sanders, etc. move the fuck over. I’ve heard the CUJE’s version of the “Peter Gunn” theme and everything I thought I knew about life and love, never mind music, was wrong, wrong, wrong.

Tommy, Can You Hear Me?

Posted in Baseball at 6:41 pm by

Not having spent a moment in Frank McCourt’s company, I can only speculate as to whether or not Tommy Lasorda has been whispering in the Dodger owner’s ear. Though some of you seem pretty certain that’s exactly what has been going on in the wake of Paul DePodesta’s sudden firing.

Though I wouldn’t ordinarily recommend checking out Lasorda’s blog at MLB.com (Tommy needs a new ghostwriter even more than Bill Romanowski), some of the reader comments that have gone up in the past two days are priceless, in their own special way.

You wouldn’t have anything to do with DePodesta’s dumping, would you? I remember how big you were on loyalty, when did that change? You had a couple of bad years (remember 1992? I sure do), thank goodness your owner wasn’t so fickle.

Posted by: bokonon42@hotmail.com | October 29, 2005 02:51 PM

Screw you Tommy. And screw Bobby Valentine while you’re at it. They should have kicked your old antiquated carcass out to the curb when they had the chance. Now you’re going to run this organization you claim to love into the ground. I can’t wait for the next Shaw-for-Konerko stroke of genius. You and McCourt can go to **** as far as I’m concerned.

Posted by: sangabrielad@yahoo.com | October 29, 2005 02:53 PM

Mr. Lasorda,
I’ve always had affection for you. You’ve obviously suddenly gained great influence over the future direction of the Dodger franchise. The McCourts have demonstrated nothing but sheer ignorance and vanity in how they approach running the team, so your role is crucial.
Given that, here’s what fans need to hear you say:
“I made a mistake trading Paul Konerko.”
“I made a mistake dismissing the potential of Pedro Martinez.”
“I’ve learned from these stupid blunders, and will not advise that the Dodgers repeat them now. Specifically, I will make sure the McCourts continue to recognize, as they did when DePodesta was here, that trading our blue chip prospects for over the hill ‘name’ players might be a PR dream but is bad for the long term future of the franchise. If I see Frank or Jamie heading in that direction, I will come to them and say, Frank and Jamie, I tried that before, and I failed, and I’m still miserable about it. I personally cost the Dodgers at least two division championships in this decade because I so devalued Konerko.”
Tommy, I don’t know if you can do this. But if you did it, and did it publicly, the sting of this unjustified firing would be much eased.

Posted by: dzzrtratt@hotmail.com | October 30, 2005 02:44 PM

Watching The 1pm Games Whilst Searching For Aspirin

Posted in Gridiron at 3:03 pm by

A Bengals fan just took a handoff from Brett Favre. Given that the Packers QB has been throwing balls to dudes in orange all afternoon, Mr. Gatecrasher can be excused for thinking he was entitled.

I can already see Mike Tice’s new job —- celebrity spokesperson for StubHub.com

I’m still trying to figure out which performance was more awkward, Jeff Garcia hosting SNL last night, or his futility against the Bears.

(it’s been a career day for Tiki Barber, 206 yards on 24 carries and one TD)

While watching the Giants humiliate the Redskins, I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t the former’s finest all-around performance since the 2001 NFC Championship win over the Vikings. Not that I haven’t already quit up on this one —- with Pat Ramsey in the game, presumably Washington has, too.

McMillan & Strife : Randolph’s Poor Timing

Posted in Basketball at 2:40 pm by

(the hottest ticket since McGovern/Eagleton)

As Tavares once sang, “It only takes a minute….” to end up on the shit list of Portland’s Nate McMillan’. From the Oregonian’s Jason Quick.

If Nate McMillan has a proverbial doghouse, the Trail Blazers coach says it is vacant — even if it appears that his star player, Zach Randolph, is doing everything possible to take up residence.

On Oct. 10, Randolph was kicked out of a practice for loafing. Two days later, he was late to the team’s morning shootaround — a pregame practice in which the team goes over its plan for that night’s game — resulting in Randolph losing his starting role for the night. Then, last Wednesday, Randolph was late again to the team’s morning shootaround, resulting in another benching.

“Pfft. He be all right, I guess,” Randolph said Friday in Spokane when asked what he thought of his coach. “I got kicked out of a practice, nothing I can do about that now. And I have been late — everybody be late at times. I just can’t be late anymore.”

“What came after the part where he said, ‘only one minute’?” McMillan asked.

Before it was relayed to him, McMillan finished the sentence himself.

“Late. Whether it was one minute or whatever, and the end of that was late,” McMillan said.

“See, what it comes down to is execution. If we are one second late in where we are supposed to be in a game, it costs you a basket, it costs you a game. Everything we do, really, is based on time, and that’s the discipline I hope we get.”

Vescey’s 2005-06 Predictions

Posted in Basketball at 1:08 pm by

Though picking the Spurs to repeat next June, the NY Post’s Peter Vescey presumes that Indiana and Miami will be the likely finalists in the Eastern Conference.

The Pacers, despite flaunting six guys who can go goofy at any time, will provide stiffer resistance than the Spurs are accustomed to coping with in the Finals.

For the first time since the Indy 500 was raced with a horse and buggy, the Pacers are without the retired Reggie Miller. Not having him holding them back anymore is reason alone to pick them. By remaining loyal to Miller two years more than common sense dictated, the Pacers were financially forced to move free agent Brad Miller to the Kings in a non-productive sign-and-trade transaction and deal unhappy Al Harrington for Stephen Jackson.

Yeah, Miller could still fill it up at the end of his career, but so could James Jones (averaging 16.6 points and 42-percent FG from deep as a Sun), whose growth Reggie stunted, to single out one former teammate. And, guess what, the 6-8 Jones also rebounds and plays defense.

Afterthought: Let’s not dwell anymore on the past. Fans now get 82 fresh chances to guess when Artest will visit the special prosecutor. How can anyone not like the Heat to sail through the ashy Southeast Division, despite all the new sailors Pat Riley has welcomed aboard? (Coaches have no input regarding personnel changes in Miami and Detroit, to name two places.)

Isola : Curry Took Ephedra

Posted in Basketball at 12:54 pm by

Amidst continued questions regarding newly acquired Knicks C Eddy Curry’s physical condition, the New York Daily News’ Frank Isola throws a new revelation into the mix.

In the summer of 2004, Curry, in an attempt to lose weight, either knowingly or unknowingly began taking ephedra, a controversial diet supplement that increases metabolism. It is not recommended for anyone with a heart condition and federal investigators have linked ephedra to at least 100 deaths – including that of Orioles pitcher Steve Bechler – and to strokes, seizures and heart attacks. It was banned by most sports leagues, including the NBA, long before the federal government finally outlawed its sale last year.

According to a source, the pills were provided by Tim Grover, the Chicago-based trainer whose A-list clients include Michael Jordan and Alex Rodriguez. Curry denied taking ephedra, saying the weight loss was the result of a low-carb diet. Grover did not return phone calls made to his office.

“I wasn’t taking any supplements,” Curry says. “I cut out bread and sugar from my diet. I lost something like 35 pounds and I came in at 275 pounds. I felt uncomfortable. I didn’t feel like myself at all. I wanted to play at 285 or 290.”

According to a source, the Bulls noticed Curry’s dramatic weight loss and became suspicious. Curry gained a reputation as a player who gained weight during the off-season and avoided the Bulls’ training facility during the summer. Curry contends that he preferred to use Grover, whom he hired four years earlier, to monitor his workouts at Hoops the Gym in downtown Chicago.

Although Curry resumed his workouts in early August, there is some debate over just how strenuous Grover’s program was. When Curry arrived for Knicks training camp in Charleston four weeks ago, he was badly out of shape.

Tabloids Being Tabloids : Red Sox Angry, Mets Hopeful

Posted in Baseball at 12:03 pm by

The Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman writes that Red Sox ownership is fumingover yesterday’s reports of Manny Ramirez demanding a trade, yet reserving the right to change his mind.

œI echo Theo™s remarks today that deplore leaks to the media regarding private conversations, John Henry said in an e-mail. œI was able to ascertain that today™s story on Manny did not come from the Red Sox.

A source on the Red Sox said the team was œfurious about the story but given that Ramirez has made and withdrawn similar requests in the past, having him possibly express a desire to be traded once again did not raise anybody™s eyebrows along Yawkey Way. Still, the breach in confidence reportedly bothered the Red Sox a great deal, even if the source was discovered not to be on the payroll.

However, if Ramirez™ request to be traded does remain on the table for a long period of time, the leak does no favors for the Red Sox, who would lose leverage if potential trading partners believe that Ramirez is forcing a trade.

Despite the Mets being on Ramirez’ list of teams that he’d reject a trade to, the New York Daily News’ usually reliable Adam Rubin claims there’s still a chance of such of a transaction being completed.

Ramirez’s agent, Greg Genske, has said Ramirez would want no part of the Mets if he were traded. But that won’t stop the Mets from pursuing Ramirez, according to someone familiar with the team’s thinking.

Given Ramirez’s oft-changing stances, it seems plausible Ramirez could be convinced by Omar Minaya and Pedro Martinez to join the Mets if the teams could strike a deal.

Bucs Explore Gender Issues, Prepare To Kill Niners

Posted in Gridiron at 11:41 am by

Of today’s four late afternoon games that I won’t be watching, Tampa Bay/SF seems like the least attractive matchup. Though if Halloween would come a day early to Monster Park, I might change my mind. From the St. Petersburg Times’ Stephen F. Holder.

Bucs players enjoy Halloween as much as anybody, but we found talking to these guys about their Halloweens past was downright scary. And not because of the frightful reasons usually associated with the holiday.

Players’ memories covered the spectrum, some boasting of clever costumes, others recalling ones that could be described only as bizarre.

Take tight end Anthony Becht (above).

“When I was about 8, that’s when Pac-Man was real big,” he said. “So my mom, she cut a Pac-Man shape out of cardboard that covered almost my whole body. Then she made me wear these yellow tights with some yellow Converse (sneakers). And my sister dressed as one of the ghosts (from the video game). I wasn’t feeling too masculine walking around in that thing.”

If that’s the case, then what eventually happened must have crushed his manhood. Some of his neighbors remarked to his mother, “Your daughter is so cute,” Becht recalled. One problem. They were talking about Anthony, not his sister.

“I was like, “Come on, I’m a guy!’ ” Becht said. “They couldn’t see my face because of the costume. There were just two holes poked into the cardboard for my eyes. I did get a lot of candy, though.”

As an eighth-grader, tight-end Alex Smith, running out of fresh costume ideas, decided to dress as a drag queen. Turns out, it was quite the hit. Then again, that’s the problem.

“The thing was, everybody said I looked good, which is kind of scary,” he said. “I don’t know how I feel about that.”

Plaschke : DePodesta “Never Should’ve Been Hired”

Posted in Baseball at 11:23 am by

I suppose congratulations of some sort are due to the LA Times’ Bill Plaschke (above), who has proven that despite being barely capable of stringing a sentence together, he can run a Harvard educated executive out of town if he writes the same column enough times.

Some will say Paul DePodesta wasn’t given a fair chance. I say he never should have been hired in the first place.

Some say this makes Dodger owner McCourt look like a man who has lost control. I say this is about him finally taking control, however clueless and callous he appears.

Some say, a hasty firing. I say, a smart trade.

DePodesta and his strange managerial candidate list have been dealt into our memories for Pat Gillick, Orel Hershiser and Bobby Valentine.

Here’s guessing Gillick and his World Series rings will be the new general manager. Hershiser and his World Series ring will be the assistant. Bobby Valentine and his World Series appearance will be the manager.

None of this would be possible if DePodesta were still around.

The kid’s computer, once foolishly hailed by McCourt as the organizational savior, had become little more than a flashy box blocking the door.

McCourt should have known better. Or, at least, he should have asked someone other than Oakland’s Billy Beane, the most famous general manager who has never won a playoff series.

To fill shoes once worn by Branch Rickey and Al Campanis, should McCourt really have hired a 31-year-old who, when with Oakland, had been the most invisible No. 2 executive in the game?

Remember when, during DePodesta’s hiring news conference in February 2004, McCourt mentioned how it was so cool that his teenage son had been surfing chat rooms that claimed DePodesta joining the Dodgers was like Alex Rodriguez joining the New York Yankees?

An opposing viewpoint (to say the least), can be found here.

Matthews : King Roast Didn’t Go Far Enough

Posted in Boxing at 11:02 am by

A number of comics and z-list celebs recently gathered at the New York Hilton for a Friar’s Club Roast of Don King. Newsday’s Wally Matthews wasn’t laughing very hard, though he does bring up some valuable tidbits from King’s biography, in case they ever do a 2nd roast.

Far too many of us have bought into the popular image of King as a flamboyant but basically harmless boxing rogue.

Freddie Roman, Pat Cooper, Norm Crosby and the rest of them have certainly swallowed it, and though they may be accomplished roastmasters when the subject is your standard-issue celebrity, when it comes to King, they are as clueless as any of the dozens of well-heeled suckers who have fallen under King’s spell, only to be kicked to the curb. As a result, the “roast” was a series of gentle slaps, followed by professions of deepest love and respect for this man who “has done so much for boxing.”

Truth is, the Friars were not qualified to give King the roasting he deserves. That could be done only by those King already has roasted.

People such as Sam Garrett, who worked for King (above) as a numbers runner in Cleveland back in the 1960s. But Garrett couldn’t be there because he was dead, stomped into a coma by King over a $600 debt. According to the police report, Garrett’s last words were, “I’ll pay you, Donald, I’ll pay you.”

People such as Jeff Merritt, King’s first heavyweight, the one who got boxing people to pay attention to his ex-con manager because he could hit like a ton of bricks falling off a roof. But Merritt wound up a junkie and a failure; when last seen, he turned up at the Mike Tyson-Peter McNeeley fight begging his old manager for a few bucks. King had him thrown out by security.

People such as Earnie Shavers, King’s second fighter, whose huge punch propelled King into big-time boxing. He wound up having to cut the lawn at King’s mansion after he was betrayed by his trusting nature – and glass chin.

People such as the employees of financially ailing Forest City Hospital in Cleveland, who in the early ’70s believed King would save them with a boxing fundraiser at which he had convinced Muhammad Ali, whom he had never met, to appear. According to a book by the late journalist Jack Newfield, Ali got $10,000, King got $30,000, the hospital got $15,000. The hospital folded anyway but King met Ali, and the rest is boxing history.

Most of all, you need to talk to Ali, now 62 and in the grip of Parkinson’s disease widely believed to have been caused by repeated blows to the head. The most damaging of those were likely inflicted in his last two fights, against Larry Holmes and Trevor Berbick. Both bouts were promoted by King despite medical reports, as detailed in Thomas Hauser’s comprehensive Ali biography, showing that Ali already was suffering brain damage and should not have been allowed back in the ring.

Mushnick Breaks New Ground, Attacks Greedy Dinosaur Rockers

Posted in Rock Und Roll at 10:48 am by

This was a slow news week for the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick. Since his last entry, incredibly, nothing has occured to justify trashing Mike Francesca, Chris Russo, Spike Lee, Vince McMahon, Nike, Stuart Scott or Stephen A. Smith. In Sunday’s column, he could only manage a very brief, negative reference to the video game industry, along with the following revelation :

Sports fans should know they’re not alone in being forced to buy tickets with outrageous face values and added, dubious service charges that are designed to beat scalpers to the sucker punch.

Tickets to the three Cream concerts at the Garden last week were priced at $365 (apiece!), $185, $148 and, if you wanted only to hear the concert, as opposed to also seeing it, $80.

Eric Clapton, Ginger Baker and Jack Bruce did perform one of Cream’s great old numbers, “I Feel Free,” but apparently they didn’t mean it.

Phil should be encouraged to know, however that tickets for the recent Danzig/Doyle reunion gig in San Antonio were far cheaper.

If This Is Too Expensive…

Posted in Modern Art at 1:41 am by

….I’ll make you a CDR of the Mentally Ill’s “Gacy’s Place” for $10.

(link courtesy Derek Erdman)


Wigan Continue Their Unlikely Run

Posted in Football at 11:54 pm by

How to pick Saturday’s top soccer story? The 1-1 draw in the North London derby? Manchester United’s worst Premiership defeat in 6 years, 4-1 to hosts Middlesbrough?
Ten man QPR winning at Derby? (ok, probably not the top story) How about Paul Gascoigne, victorious in his managerial debut with non-League Kettering? A nightmare showing for Wisdom Weasel’s Norwich City, 1-0 losers to Sheffield Wednesday, as calls for Nigel Worthington’s head rise to a crescendo? Inter Milan falling to 3rd place in Serie A after a 2-2 draw at Sampdoria?

I’m not gonna pick the MetroStars getting knocked out of the MLS Playoffs on the grounds that it was totally unfair of New England to activate Tedy Bruschi.

(Wigan goalscorer Pascal Chimbonda — actually, they’re number 2)

With apologies to all of the above, Saturday’s mind-blower goes to Wigan Athletic, not so much for their referee assisted 1-0 defeat of Fulham, but rather, for how difficult it is to absorb the following : the Lactics are now 2nd in the Premiership.

Bubble Gum & Noogies For All

Posted in Baseball at 7:05 pm by

The above headline comes courtesy of Maura Johnston, who alerts us to the news that the Atlanta Braves have named former Mets/Phillies reliever Roger McDowell (above) as their new pitching coach. The anti-Leo, if you will.

Schmidt Lobbies For D-Rays Job

Posted in Baseball at 6:43 pm by

From the Tampa Tribune’s Carter Gaddis :

“A couple of years ago, I actually sensed that what’s in my heart is baseball,” Mike Schmidt said Friday during a conference call with reporters, shortly after he interviewed for the Devil Rays’ vacant manager position. “It was sort of wasting away, a lot of knowledge, secrets I’d learned about how to win a baseball game. I’m a baseball man, and I’m a baseball man without a place to prove it.”

Schmidt, 56, requested the interview with Rays team president Matt Silverman and director of baseball development Andrew Friedman. After a tough 2004 season as manager of the Single-A Clearwater Threshers — during which he became convinced life in the low minors was not for him — Schmidt said he was intrigued by the chance to help shape the direction of an organization being rebuilt “from the ground up.”

Schmidt had hoped merely for a foot in the door. He came away after spending the early afternoon with Silverman and Friedman feeling confident about his chances to at least be considered a finalist for the job as Lou Piniella’s replacement.

Schmidt said he hopes his status as a Hall of Famer could be an asset to the organization off the field, as well as on it. He also said he learned a lot in ’04 with the Threshers, despite resigning after a 55-81 season.

“I’m a communicator. I think my strongest asset going is my bedside manner,” he said. “I love to create relationships with the young men on the team and create an environment where they have their best chance of reaching their potential in the game. In any way, shape or form … having passed through my watch, it’ll make them a better player.”

I suppose part of baseball’s universal appeal is that it is such an incredibly simple game to manage, so much so that a guy can leave the game for 14 years, lead a club in the lowest rung of the minors to the worst record in their league, and still be considered a viable candidate for a big league opening a year after quitting.

Or failing that, be considered a candidate for the Devil Rays vacancy.

Irish Extend Weis ‘Til 2015

Posted in Gridiron at 4:26 pm by

No doubt chuffed to bits over their 5-2 start and no. 9 ranking,
Notre Dame has signed head football coach Charlie Weis to a new ten year agreement that will bind him to the school until 2015. This agreement supplants a prior deal that ran through 2010.

Not only should said agreement end speculation that an NFL club might buy Weis out of his contract for a million or so, but will also provoke comparisons to the Irish’s treatment of Tyrone Willingham (8-0 after his first two months at South Bend).

In other happy news, Air Force are currently trailing those masters of urban recruiting, BYU, 31-7 in the third quarter.

Dodgers GM DePosed, Plaschke Claims Scalp

Posted in Baseball at 3:04 pm by

ESPN Radio and a number of other outlets have already reported this is a done deal. From the San Bernadino County Sun’s Tony Jackson.

Dodgers general manager Paul DePodesta (above), the primary architect of a team that went 71-91 and finished fourth in the National League West, appears to be on the verge of being fired, a source with knowledge of the situation said late Friday night.

The move comes at a curious time, given that DePodesta was four weeks into a managerial search, the result of Jim Tracy having left the club on Oct. 3 in what officially was termed a “mutual agreement.” It isn’t clear what the move will mean for that search, which DePodesta had whittled to three final candidates in Dodgers player development director Terry Collins, Texas pitching coach Orel Hershiser and former Detroit manager Alan Trammell.

Hershiser became the first managerial candidate to meet with Frank McCourt earlier this week, but the fact he didn’t meet face to face with DePodesta (the two had spoken previously by telephone) was curious, at best, even though DePodesta was busy for three days this week with the club’s annual organizational meetings.

Collins was scheduled to meet with McCourt on Friday night. But when reached in his downtown hotel room, Collins, who lives in Florida, said that meeting had been postponed until sometime next week because “something came up.”

Miller Sticks Up For DeBerry

Posted in Gridiron, Racism Corner at 2:00 pm by

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer’s Ted Miller writes that Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry is merely guilty of speaking the truth.

We are so hung up on not offending someone — and many seem to relish being offended — that the public discourse has moved beyond being sanitized: It has become dishonest.

Perhaps DeBerry should have stuck to acceptable, disingenuous football-coach code.

If he had said, “TCU has better athletes than we do; we need to recruit better athletes,” everyone in the room would have known that he was saying the Falcons needed more African American players, but they would have felt comfortably ensconced in unoffensive code.

Here’s some more code translation:

When coaches talk about the athleticism of the SEC, they are talking about a recruiting area with a significant black population.

When coaches talk about recruiting hotbeds in Florida, Texas, Georgia and Southern California, they are talking about areas with a large black population.

To localize it: When Pac-10 coaches outside of Los Angeles talk about recruiting in Southern California, they are talking about recruiting black players.

Those in the arena — the athletes and coaches — recognize the reality. The vast majority, apparently unlike DeBerry, know to keep quiet about it, at least on the record.

Make a list of the most spectacular athletes in history. No, Larry Bird, one of the greatest basketball players in history, wasn’t a spectacular athlete. What’s the racial makeup of your list?

No one is saying whites or Asians can’t be fast or jump high. It’s just that every single piece of empirical evidence suggests that blacks are more likely to run fast or jump high. The sociological theories, convincing when used to explain academic gaps between the races, feel as substantial as cobwebs when applied to times in the 100 meters.

DeBerry critics also are pointing toward the racist stereotype that blacks are physically gifted but mentally deficient, an extreme extrapolation that has no launching pad in his comments.

Where did the idea develop that physical ability automatically diminishes mental ability anyway? There’s no scientific basis for the idea that physical and mental abilities are a zero-sum allotment.

Black folks on a daily basis face slights, sideways glances and inconveniences that are foreign to most white folks. Being told they, on average, are faster than white people probably isn’t very high on the list of annoyances.

Seems to me that attributing TCU’s dominance over Air Force to the former’s pleathora of black athletes diminishes their accomplishments and implies, however slightly, that the Frogs had a competitive advantage solely due to the racial makeup.

Not because they were smarter, worked harder, “wanted it more” or any of the other labels regularly slapped on white athletes. Or because the opposition had a better coach. But perhaps I’m just looking for a reason to be offended.

Knicks Stink Up MSG, Commemorate Brown’s Slutty Past

Posted in Basketball at 1:36 pm by

(“Dokken” rhymes with “rockin’”, which almost rhymes with “Larry-Brown-stalking”)

After the turnover-crazy Knicks dropped last night’s exhibition tilt to the Jason Kiddless Nets, the Newark Star-Ledger’s David Waldstein hinted that Larry Brown and George Lynch (above) might be reunited. Waldstein also noted the following bit of creativity from the MSG Sales Department :

The Knicks have an innovative new partial season-ticket plan that commemorates the migratory career of their new coach. It’s called the Brown Seats Plan and includes tickets to games against teams Brown coached in the past. Fans can choose seven games from among the seven teams Brown led before coming to the Knicks: the Pistons, Sixers, Clippers, and the four former ABA teams — Nets, Spurs, Pacers, Nuggets.

Plus, there are two twists. The fans can also choose a Charlotte Bobcats game as a substitute for the old Carolina Cougars, the first team Brown coached in the ABA from 1972-74. Of course, Brown also coached the Kansas Jayhawks to a national championship, so fans will be offered a discounted ticket to the Kansas-St. Joseph’s game at the Garden in December.

Additional kudos to NY’s marketing geniuses for the catchy slogan “You Gotta Be There To Say You Were There”, which easily beats my suggestions of “Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere” and the Rick Pintino-inspired “Louis Orr Ain’t Walking Thru That Door”